Clifford Geertz

Clifford James Geertz (1926-08-232006-10-30) was an American anthropologist and served until his death as professor emeritus at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey.


  • In the country of the blind, who are not as unobservant as they look, the one-eyed is not king, he is spectator.
    • Local Knowledge: Further Essays in Interpretive Anthropology (1983) [Basic Books, 2000, ISBN 0-465-04162-0], p. 58.
  • We are not, or at least I am not, seeking either to become natives (a compromised word in any case) or to mimic them. Only romantics or spies would seem to find point in that. We are seeking, in the widened sense of the term in which it encompasses very much more than talk, to converse with them, a matter a great deal more difficult, and not only with strangers, than is commonly recognized. "If speaking for someone else seems to be a mysterious process," Stanley Cavell has remarked, "that may be because speaking to someone does not seem mysterious enough." Looked at in this way, the aim of anthropology is the enlargement of the universe of hujman discourse."
    • Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture in The Interpretation of Culture. (1973) pp. 3-4.

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